Acknowledgements for contributions, authorship, and review (2017-2018)
Stephan Guyenet, Eric Trexler, Vincent Sparagna, Richard Njiholt, Luis Villasenor, Marty Kendall, Kevin Hall, Brandon Roberts, Alex Leaf, Brad Dieter, Vegard Lysne, Tyler Cartwright, Grant Tinsley, Michael hull, Zad Chow, Conrad Earnest, Alex Ritson, Greg Nuckols, Andrew Vigotsky, Martin Norum, Israel Halperin, and Brianna Stubbs.
Table of Contents
What You Will Learn
- Understand how Sci-Fit works and how you benefit
- Read and view our discoveries about the ketogenic diet
- Discover which topic is on our horizon after we finish analyzing the ketogenic diet
Hello, everyone! My name is Adam Tzur and I am the owner of Sci-Fit. I started the site in 2016.
Since its inception, Sci-Fit has evolved into a comprehensive system.
Our review articles are now vetted by scientists and analysts. Our reviews are now systematic reviews, meaning that we comprehensively search the scientific literature to find data. We also publish study collections of our literature searches, so everyone benefits.
Our latest articles now contain methodology sections which explain how we find and work with data.
Finally, more and more contributors, reviewers, and data analysts join us in our goal towards higher productivity.
You benefit by getting free access to our analyses and conclusions. We add plain language summaries to our articles. This way, you can understand complex topics.
In 2018, we published 11 articles, and most of them were about the ketogenic diet. One of our goals at Sci-Fit is to produce novel, data-based analyses. By doing this, we reach new conclusions and progress the field we work in.
What did we discover about the ketogenic diet in 2018?
- On average, the ketogenic diet helps people feel less hungry and eat fewer calories.
- On average, the ketogenic diet is hard to stick to in the long-term. This isn’t exclusive to keto, because people struggle adhering to all diets.
- Ketogenic supplements are not worth your money, yet. Studies have found few benefits, yet this area of research is new and promising.
- We did a novel, critical investigation of the ketogenic industry and scientists. Check it out if you’re interested in conflicts of interest.
- It has long been said that you need to eat a low-to-moderate protein diet if you want to be in ketosis. However, we found that participants can be in ketosis even on high protein diets.
- We challenge the idea that people need <50 g of carbohydrates to stay in ketosis. In fact, people have been in ketosis in the 60-82 g/d range.
- We coined a new term: Keto Flush happens when your body loses salt, water, and glycogen during the first weeks of the ketogenic diet. 1This concept has been known for a while in the ketogenic community, yet it has not been given a name. Our article discusses the scientific aspects and implications of keto flush
Infographics of 2018
You may wonder why we have dedicated so much time to the ketogenic diet. The reason is simple: at Sci-Fit we deal with one main topic at a time. In the years 2017 to 2019, we focus on the ketogenic diet.
In 2019, we have some upcoming articles for keto. The next analysis will answer which side effects people experience on the ketogenic diet. We will also compare the side effects to control diets, to see if there are differences. We are doing this novel analysis because it has not yet been done in the literature.
Finally, we will round up our entire ketogenic series with a comprehensive summary article.
After we have finished the ketogenic summary, we set our sights on fasting. Yes, we will do an entire article series on fasting, including intermittent fasting. We do not yet know how long this series will take, or how many hours we must invest. What we do know is that we will systematically and comprehensively answer the questions of fasting.
Sci-Fit’s Evolution in 2018
Articles published in 2018
2018 has been a productive year for Sci-Fit. We published 4 reviews, 3 study collections, 2 analyses, and 2 interviews! It is hard to estimate how many hours of work we put into creating this content. As an example, our article on ketogenic adherence took ~6 months to finish with a team of 4 authors, 4 contributors, and 6 reviewers!
|Science Spotlight: Alex Leaf||Interview||January 2, 2018|
|How Keto Scientists Connect to Keto Companies (a critical investigation)||Analysis||January 16, 2018|
|How the Ketogenic Diet Affects Hunger (Research Review)||Review||March 14, 2018|
|Creatine Research – A Collection of 230+ Studies||Study Collection||May 27, 2018|
|Exogenous Ketones – Worth Buying? Scientific Recommendations||Review||May 30, 2018|
|Science Spotlight: Grant Tinsley||Interview||June 6, 2018|
|Cold Water Immersion – A Collection of 240+ Studies||Study Collection||July 19, 2018|
|Keto Flush – How Body Water and Glycogen Affect Ketogenic Weight Loss||Analysis||August 1, 2018|
|Drop Set Study Collection||Study Collection||August 21, 2018|
|Adhering to the Ketogenic Diet – Is it Easy or Hard? (Research Review)||Review||November 27, 2018|
|The Drop Set – Scientific Review and Practical Advice||Review||December 30, 2018|
Publications vetted by scientists & authors
A growing number of researchers, authors, and analysts join and contribute to our projects. We make it a priority to invite researchers and authors from various backgrounds. They provide unique insights and new perspectives to our work. We do this to avoid in-group bias and to be neutral.
Marty KendallOn his site, Marty uses a numerical approach to keto, satiety, and other factors. His insight into nutrition is valuable and helpful.
Improving our methodology
Since Sci-Fit started in 2016, we have made major changes to how we work. Our work has always been focused on the scientific literature, but here are some recent changes:
1. All our review articles are now systematic reviews
A systematic review aims to identify and analyze “all relevant studies on a particular topic” (Uman, 2011). We use systematic reviews to minimize bias (Uman, 2011). If we didn’t use a systematic approach to finding studies, we would be at higher risk of selection bias (Pae, 2015). This is also why we never draw conclusions from single studies.
We start our reviews by doing a systematic literature search of multiple databases. We then publish the studies we find in separate study collections.
We exclude and include relevant studies, and then extract relevant data from them. To maximize rigour, we double extract the data. This means that two or more data workers extract the exact same data into different sheets. This increases our accuracy.
After the extraction, we analyze and graph the data. When done, we start writing the article using the data we have. This is just a brief summary of our process which is much more complex.
2. We are transparent about our process and methods
We now include a methodology section in our articles. In the future, we will publish a dedicated methodology article that discusses our approach in-depth.
3. Our rigorous approach takes time
Our review articles typically take 3-6 months to finish.
4. Combining different viewpoints
One of our main values is to minimize bias and approach the scientific literature with a neutral perspective. Completely eliminating bias is impossible, but we do everything we can. One of our aims is therefore to invite scientists from all parts of the literature. A great example of this is our ketogenic diet series, which has a healthy variety of skilled reviewers.
2018 – The Year of Keto
Here at Sci-Fit, we write article series. First, we choose a topic or field to write about. Then, we write a whole series of articles that cover the field comprehensively. In the years 2017-2019, we set our aims for the ketogenic diet. Here is what we have discovered thus far.
Coining a new term: Keto Flush
The keto community knows that when you first start the ketogenic diet, you experience the keto flu. It’s when you feel various side effects during the first weeks or months of the diets.
Keto flush could be one of the reasons for keto flu. In the first weeks of the ketogenic diet, your body loses salt, water and glycogen. This dehydrates your body and you lose “wet” weight. You can partially prevent keto flush by:
- Getting extra electrolytes such as salt
- Drinking more water
- Taking creatine
- Habituating to the diet (over time)
- Doing resistance training
The article has done quite well, and is now the first search result on Google:
The ketogenic diet curbs hunger
People naturally eat fewer calories on the ketogenic diet, without being asked to:
This is probably because the ketogenic diet is satiating. In fact, we discovered that keto study participants report less hunger than control diets. This is perhaps one of the biggest strengths of the diet.
Sticking with any diet is difficult
The good news is that people feel less hungry on keto. The bad news is that the diet is hard to stick to. Note that this is a statistical generalization and does not apply to everyone. In other words, it is true on average.
The graph below shows how ketone levels change over time for keto study participants. Each line represents a group of participants. In the long-term, they struggled to maintain ketosis (0.5 mmol/L).
Yet, this is not unique to keto, because most people struggle with adherence to all diets.
Our analysis is novel, and you can read it in-depth in our full article. A group of excellent reviewers contributed to the project: Brianna Stubbs, Kevin Hall, Tyler Cartwright, Luis Villasenor, Stephan Guyenet and Marty Kendall. They provided critical insight into the process.
Ketogenic supplements: worth the price?
Ketogenic supplements are also known as exogenous ketones. They have often been said to improve athletic performance, burn fat, improve mood, and so on. We found little to no support for these claims in our analysis of ketone studies.
Still, this emerging area of research is new and fascinating. Exogenous ketones may hold promise, and we need more research.
A critical look at the scientists in the keto industry
2018 started with a bang, as we took a deep dive into the keto industry. Transparency and scientific integrity is very important to Sci-Fit, hence we wanted to identify how closely the industry follows these values. Indeed, this was the first critical investigation of the keto industry.
In summary, we discovered that there are conflicts of interest in keto research (image below). Some researchers are very prolific and own keto businesses, sell keto books, and are funded by the industry.
After the article was published, some people said that scientists with conflicts of interest are corrupt. Some also said that the ketogenic literature as a whole is corrupt. In our analysis, we found no such thing. We would in fact encourage everyone to critically engage with several factors:
- The study methodology
- How the study connects to the rest of the literature (is it an outlier?)
- The author backgrounds (business interests, personal opinions, values)
- Funding sources
- How the data was analyzed and interpreted by the authors
In other words, it’s not just a single conflict of interest that determines whether a study is worthwhile or not. Or whether a scientist is corrupt or not.
Yet, we do use extra caution when scientists have multiple conflicts of interest, and do not disclose them.
Protein does not seem to prevent ketosis
This article was actually published in 2017, but we still snuck it in here because it’s an important finding.
We often hear that, with keto, you need to restrict how much protein you eat. The number varies. Some say 100 grams per day is maximum, some say 15% of your total caloric intake. Regardless, we didn’t find support for this in the literature. To the contrary, protein does not seem to prevent ketosis at all:
Instead, we propose that protein might affect the depth of ketosis. In other words, if someone wants to achieve high blood ketone concentrations, maybe protein restriction can help? This has typically been the approach for the classical ketogenic diet as used for treating epilepsy. Still, we are not aware of any studies that directly compare ketogenic diets with different protein intakes that also measures BHB levels.
What’s Coming in 2019?
Bringing our momentum into 2019
Finishing up the ketogenic diet series
We have worked on the ketogenic diet since 2017, and it is time to wrap up our main series. We have one major analysis left:
- Which side effects do people experience on the ketogenic diet, and how do they compare to control diets?
This project is currently ongoing. We have just finished our systematic literature search, and are now in the process of extracting data. Once the article is finished, we will write a comprehensive summary piece that encompasses everything we’ve learned about the ketogenic diet.
We do not known when these articles will be ready for publication. Sign up to the newsletter to be notified.
This is a follow-up to our recent article on drop sets. We will analyze how cluster sets affect strength, power, muscle endurance, and fatigue. We are currently finishing up data extraction and will soon begin data analysis.
We want to announce that fasting is the next major topic for Sci-Fit. When we finish the ketogenic diet, we will do an entire article series on fasting, including intermittent fasting. This is very exciting for us, as we expand into new fields.